Air North Jets finish near perfect season with rec title

The word "dominant" gets thrown around a lot in sports, but few teams fit that description as well as the Air North Jets. The Whitehorse senior hockey team won three tournaments and suffered only three losses this season.

The word “dominant” gets thrown around a lot in sports, but few teams fit that description as well as the Air North Jets.

The Whitehorse senior hockey team won three tournaments and suffered only three losses this season.

The Jets capped their spectacular season by winning the division A final of the Whitehorse Rec Hockey League at the Canada Games Centre on Tuesday.

“Everyone is having fun and it’s just a good bunch of guys, playing hard, back checking, playing both ways, and no one is really getting on each other,” said Jets captain Ryan Kinney. “We’re just having fun and it makes it a winning team.”

The Jets took the A division, best-of-three final with consecutive wins over SLFS/Murphy Built, winning 10-4 Monday and 7-5 Tuesday.

Air North has been sponsoring the Jets team for a decade, but this is their first A division title. The Jets lost in the final last year.

“We’ve been here in the final a few times, but never actually won it,” said Kinney.

The Jets have four players who played down south at the junior level, including goalie Rob Young, who happens to be a pilot with Air North.

“They’re a special group of guys,” said Young of the Jets’ bench.

“They just never quit. Every game they come out ready to win… It’s weird to have that same drive for every line that comes out. The guys that come out from time to time, but don’t always play with the team, have that same drive and that same will to win.”

The A division champs lost only two games in the league – one they defaulted – entering the playoffs with a 29-2-0 record. They then went 7-0-1 in the playoffs, tying Murphy Built 5-5 on March 21.

The Jets won the 2013 Rendezvous Hockey Tournament, with just one loss along the way, in February. The team also went undefeated in tournaments in Dawson City in January and Fort Nelson, B.C., in November.

The Jets clinched the division A title on Tuesday, but it didn’t come without a fight.

Air North took a 3-1 lead in the first period on goals from Phil Harry with two and Rob Stuckey with one to finish the period up 3-2. They also out-shot Murphy Built 18-8 in the period.

[image2]

However, the Murphy crew scored two goals on five shots early in the second to take a 4-3 lead.

“Teams like this, if you can catch them flatfooted, you have to take it,” said Murphy Built co-captain Skyler Hougen. “You have to score when you can because they’re not going to give you more chances.”

“That’s rec hockey, I guess,” said Kinney. “We came out a bit flatfooted, we were not focused. We beat them pretty bad last night, so I guess we came in nonchalant tonight.”

Harry scored his third to tie the game before teammate Evan Campbell put the Jets back up by a goal at 5-4.

Campbell was second for points in the league in the postseason with 10 goals and 10 assists. Campbell, who played junior B in the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, was third for points in the league during the regular season with 33 goals and 40 assists.

Jets’ Mike Fraser put in the game-winner with five minutes left in regulation and Stuckey scored his second of the night on an empty-netter with 42 seconds remaining.

Murphy Built’s Steve Israel and Hougen both scored twice and Justin Quigley had a four-point night with three assists in the game.

“We’re really happy with the way we played,” said Hougen. “We left the game pretty excited. We said at the beginning that we have to play a stellar game, our goalie has to play a stellar game to compete with these guys. It’s no joke, they’re a dominant team.

“They skate around you, you just have to minimize their chances to put it in the net.”

In Monday’s game, Campbell had two goals and four assists. Stuckey had a hat trick and an assist. Kinney also had a good night with two goals and an assist. Teammate Brad Holm had three assists.

“Rob Stuckey really carried our weight there,” said Kinney. “Kaleb (Dawe) has been anchoring us back on defence, Even (Campbell) and Kane (Dawe) put a lot of pucks on net for us.

“Really our whole team plays well. I think Rob had a great playoff run there.”

Murphy Built’s Chris Evans had a goal and two assists while Hougen, Quigley and Dave Ricard also scored Monday. Hougen was the league’s top-scorer in the postseason with 15 goals and eight assists.

“Most of the guys have been in the league six years, bouncing from team to team, and have never been in the final,” said Hougen. “It was a fun season.”

Murphy goalie Benoit Grenier was “phenomenal,” said Hougen. “We traded for him two years back with another team in the league – we made a little rec league trade. That’s how we got a couple of our leading players. It’s pretty fun.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Eric Schroff, executive director with the Yukon Fish and Game Association, poses for a portrait on Feb. 20. Schroff says he is puzzled as to why the Yukon government is cutting back on funding for the association. (Jackie Hong/Yukon News file)
YG cuts Yukon Fish and Game Association funding, tried to vet outgoing communications

Yukon Fish and Game Association says 25 per cent government funding cut will impact operations

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Nov. 27, 2020

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read